4 For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.
5 For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:4-6)
I had a brainwave recently about what v5 means. Previously I thought that bit about “with burning and fuel of fire” referred to the second coming of Christ and how Christ would fight for the righteous and burn the wicked. And I still think that is a good way to look at it, but I started to see another interpretation for it that fit better with the context of Christ’s mortal life and ministry.
Verse 5 starts by pointing out how every battle they knew involved noise and blood. Then there is a “but” that tells us a contrast, something different is coming. So we are to think of a different kind of battle that doesn’t involve noise and blood. And I think we’re meant to immediately guess Isaiah means spiritual battles.
But how does “burning and fuel of fire” refer to spiritual battles? I suspect the burning part is talking about the fire of the Holy Ghost, and the fuel of fire refers to the people. The battle is a struggle to spark a fire of the Holy Ghost in people. All of this was definitely part of Christ’s mission, to convert with His teaching and testimony.
And the message, of course, is about the coming of the Messiah and His power to save from sin, to break the yoke of Satan’s burden of sin that is laid on each of us and save from the punishing rod of his oppressive guilt. (This is referred to with imagery in verse 4.)
This ties verse 4 and 5 together to the message of “unto us a child is born” in verse 6.
I love it when I discover these kinds of things! Yaay Isaiah!